AIRPORTS in Scotland have suffered significant disruption due to a technical fault at an air traffic control centre.
Delays were caused at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Prestwick airports after the technical glitch which occurred at around 5am at the Scottish Air Traffic Control Centre in Prestwick.
Despite the glitch being rectified by mid-morning, the knock-on effect continued to cause delays into the afternoon. Although most flights were held back by less than an hour, some suffered longer delays. One flight from Sumburgh to Edinburgh was delayed by an hour and 50 minutes.
National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the navigation service provider for the UK, released a statement apologising to travellers and to warn that further delays are likely. It read:
“The situation is continuing to improve and delays are reducing, however we recognise there are currently knock on delays as a result of airspace capacity restrictions in place earlier in the day.
We currently expect to meet demand for the number of flights planned for the rest of the day without creating any additional delay.
Passengers are advised to contact their airline to confirm the status of their flight.”
Affected by the disruption was BBC DJ Edith Bowman who tweeted to express her anger at the delays. The tweet read: “LOVING the fact I got up at 5.30 after 4hrs sleep to get a 7am flight that has now been delayed potentially THREE hours.” Bowman’s flight from Dundee to Stansted eventually left at 8.01am.
The 41 year old also aimed a tweet at NATS. She said: “Come on @NATSpressoffice .. I want to go home. Sort it out.”
Other frustrated travellers also took to twitter to air their annoyance about the situation. Nicola Hepburn tweeted: “Glasgow airport again…flight delayed not a great start to the week.”
Stephen Malcher said: “Marvellous, a major malfunction of the air traffic control system in Scotland. Now sat in a plane in Glasgow Airport and can’t take off.”
However, some passengers at Edinburgh Airport remained unperturbed by the disruption. One man who was travelling to London on business said he has suffered worse. He said: “I’ve been sat on a plane for longer without there being an official delay, just problems with baggage. I’m not too fussed; as long as it doesn’t get cancelled I’ll be quite happy.”
The Prestwick Air Traffic Control Centre opened in 2010 and combined several control centres including Manchester Area Control Centre, Scottish Area Control Centre and Oceanic Control Centre.